Wolf Tail is 15-1 on odds maker Jon White’s morning line for Saturday’s Sham Stakes, but Dennis O’Neill thinks the mile and an eighth of the Grade III test for Triple Crown hopefuls will be ideal for the California-bred son of Strive.

“It should really move him up,” said O’Neill, brother and associate of trainer Doug O’Neill. “He trains like he wants to run a mile and a half.”

All but one of Wolf Tail’s eight career starts have been sprints. He was fifth in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at 1 1/16 miles won by unbeaten Caracortado on Dec. 26. “Wolf Tail’s breeding is definitely distance,” O’Neill said. The bay colt is owned by breeder and songwriter Ed Delaney of Toluca Lake.

The field for the Sham: The Program, Martin Garcia, 7-2; Kettle River, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Straightomidnight, Omar Berrio, 20-1; Outlaw Man, Garrett Gomez, 10-1; Setsuko, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Wolf Tail, Chantal Sutherland, 15-1; Viva Macho, Silvio Amador, 30-1; El Mirage King, Tyler Baze, 20-1; Alphie’s Bet, Alex Solis, 8-1; and Nextdoorneighbor, Mike Smith, 5-2.


Ron McAnally has experienced victory in the Santa Anita Handicap with a legend and a longshot. This year, he hopes to add to his Hall of Fame resume with a victory by Massone in the Grade I, $750,000 event at a mile and a quarter presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & casino on March 6.

The 4-year-old Menefee colt has only two wins in a 19-race career, but has finished worse than fourth only once in his last 17 races. He has been in the money in several graded stakes, showing five seconds and seven thirds overall, with earnings of $453,400 for the Frankfurt Stable of Lewis Figone of El Cerrito.

“He’s very consistent, but not big on winning,” said McAnally, who saddled superstar John Henry to back-to-back wins in the 1981 and 1982 Big ’Caps, and 18-1 outsider Mr Purple under Eddie Delahoussaye in 1996. As of Thursday, McAnally was still seeking a rider for Massone.

“I told Eddie the other day, we need him to come back and ride Massone,” McAnally said. “He’s a nice, giving little horse. He tries every time. All we need now is a rider and we’ll be OK.”

McAnally had his Big ‘Cap rider Friday. Joe Talamo, a Cajun like Delahoussaye, rides Massone.

Probable for the Santa Anita Handicap: Acclamation, no rider; Dakota Phone, Victor Espinoza; High Court Drama, Michael Baze; Jeranimo, no rider; Loup Breton, Garrett Gomez; Massone, Talamo; Mast Track, David Flores; Misremembered, Martin Garcia; Mr. Big, no rider; Neko Bay, Mike Smith; Philatalist, Rafael Bejarano; Pick Six, Alex Solis; Pool Play, Chantal Sutherland; Rendezvous, no rider; Spurrier, no rider; the mare St Trinians, Joel Rosario; and Tiger’s Rock, David Cohen.

St Trinians worked five furlongs at Hollywood Park Friday in 1:01.60, breezing, for Mike Mitchell, Neko Bay went six furlongs in 1:13.80, and Mast Track the same distance in 1:12.80, the latter pair for John Shirreffs.


Caracortado and Zenyatta, who have yet to taste defeat in a combined 19 races, worked at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, respectively, Friday morning for upcoming engagements at Santa Anita.

Triple Crown hopeful Caracortado, prepping for the Grade II, $150,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 13, went five furlongs on Pro-Ride in 1:01.20 under regular rider Paul Atkinson for trainer Mike Machowsky.

Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Zenyatta, perfect in 14 starts, went six furlongs at Hollywood in 1:13.20, breezing, with regular rider Mike Smith aboard. The 6-year-old mare is expected to make her 2010 debut in the Grade I, $250,000 Santa Margarita Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on March 13, a race that is expected to lead to a showdown with Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park April 9.

“He went really good,” said trainer Mike Machowsky, who referred to the chestnut gelding as “the little red horse. He came home in 22 and change the last quarter. He’s doing great.”

Added Atkinson: “He went slow early and quickened late. He’s a happy boy.”

“It was excellent,” Smith said of Zenyatta’s move. “She was just cruising around there. She was very impressive.”


Santa Anita’s underdog jockeys, short on size but not determination, lost to Holy Angels School in their annual Charity Basketball Game last night, 47-40, before a standing-room-only crowd at LaSalle High School in Pasadena.

“We were actually competitive and the guys played great,” said HRTV’s Kurt Hoover, who coached the riders. “The depth of this team helped and I was real proud of their performance.” Added Santa Anita Director of Publicity Mike Willman: “This event just keeps getting better every year. It was tremendous last year and it got even better last night. I really want to thank two people—David Flores and Nancy Dollase. Without them, it just wouldn’t come together like it has. Let’s face it, these jocks are risking injury and a substantial loss of income by playing, but in large part due to David and Nancy’s efforts, they do, and they have a great time.

“It was great seeing everyone out and having a good time. Gary Stevens was out with his baby girl and his wife, and Garrett Gomez had his entire family there, as did Paul Atkinson. Omar Berrio had his little boy there and the whole night had kind of small-town feel to it and we helped raise money for a very worthwhile cause. This was a great night for Santa Anita and Holy Angels.” Prior to the game, retired Hall of Fame riders Eddie Delahoussaye, Laffit Pincay Jr. and Gary Stevens joined four-time national money-earnings king Garrett Gomez, David Flores, Alex Solis, Rafael Bejarano, Joe Talamo and Mike Smith in an autograph session that was well-received by the enthusiastic crowd.

Jockeys who participated were Game Captain Flores, Paul Atkinson, Bejarano, Smith, Talamo, Brice Blanc, Christian Santiago Reyes, Solis, Simon Pearce, Tyler Kaplan, Max Corrales and Josh Desormeaux, son of superstar jockey and basketball player Kent Desormeaux. Proceeds will benefit the Holy Angels athletic department. Highlights of the game can be seen on an upcoming episode of “Lopez Tonight,” hosted by George Lopez. The show airs at 8 p.m. on the TNT Network.


For the second consecutive year, Jerry and Ann Moss were named Owners of the Year and their mare Zenyatta Horse of the Year by the Thoroughbred Owners of California. The awards for both “Most California Purse Money Won” and “Most California Stakes Races Won” went to Zayat Stables.

The award for “Most California Wins” went to the Northern California-based partnership of Jerry Hollendorfer and George Todaro. Deanne Warren was chosen Rookie of the Year. Moment of the Year went to Zenyatta’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic against males to remain undefeated in 14 career starts.

In addition to Zenyatta, the Mosses campaigned Alpha Kitten, Coco Bell, Madeo, Tiago, Neko Bay and Theodora in California in 2009. Zayat Stables won a remarkable 11 stakes races in 2009 and nearly $2.5 million. Their stakes winners included Pioneerof the Nile, Thorn Song, Zensational, Z Humor, Macias and Kays and Jays. Hollendorfer and Todaro had 88 wins in 2009 with earnings over $2 million. Warren raced Storm Machine, Multitasker, Justified Talent and Journeyman to four wins in 21 starts, with earnings of just under $100,000.

The selection process began with a media selection committee comprised of representatives from northern and southern California, including track publicity, print media, television, and local handicappers. The winners were chosen by a combined vote of the media committee and members of the TOC board of directors.

Selected to receive this year’s Ed Friendly Industry Service Award were John and Jerry Amerman. The award is presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions and service in the Thoroughbred racing industry. The Amermans have been involved in California horse racing since 1995, when they started Amerman Racing, LLC.

FINISH LINES: Track superintendent Richard Tedesco said the local weather forecast calls for just fewer than two inches of rain starting around 2 a.m. Saturday, with the heaviest occurring between 6 and 8 Saturday morning. “After that it will be sporadic,” Tedesco said, “but it is expected to rain all day Saturday.” . . . Silvio Amador has caught the eye of seasoned racing aficionados despite limited opportunities. The 28-year-old rider from Mexico City had five wins from 66 mounts through Thursday. “I never get excited about riders, but I think he’s the best I’ve had in the last 25 years,” said agent Alex Procel Crowley, who in the past has represented David Flores, Corey Nakatani, Darrel McHargue, Don Pierce and Ruben Hernandez, among others. Trainers who have given Amador a leg up include Jorge Periban, Mel Stute, Jorge Gutierrez and Cliff Sise Jr. . . . Frank E. Kilroe Mile contender Monzante worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park Friday in 1:14.20 for Mike Mitchell . . . San Vicente Stakes winner Sidney’s Candy, a candidate for the March 13 San Felipe Stakes, worked five furlongs at Hollywood in 1:00.40 for John Sadler . . . Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Life Is Sweet worked six furlongs at Hollywood in 1:12.60 for John Shirreffs, while multiple stakes winner Monterey Jazz, on the comeback trail for Craig Dollase, worked four furlongs in :46.40 . . . Starting next Wednesday and continuing each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday through the end of the meet, Santa Anita will offer a $200,000 guaranteed Pick 4 on the last four races of the day . . . ShowVivor II was reduced to 229 contestants going into Friday’s races.